MTC clears Bitel spectrum allocation

4 Feb 2019

Peru’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (Ministerio de Transportes y Comunicaciones, MTC) has concluded that the allocation of 2.5GHz spectrum covering 183 provinces to Vietnamese-backed cellco Bitel in December 2017 was legal and valid. The MTC launched an investigation into the matter in September 2018, after doubts were raised regarding the legitimacy of the allocation, which was completed at the request of Bitel rather than via public tender. MTC’s probe found that the authorisation was issued ‘in accordance with the legal system in force at the date of the assignment … and meets the requirements of validity.’ The ministry confirmed that the General Telecommunications Law allows for spectrum rights to be issued through a direct request from a party – as was the case with Bitel’s frequencies – or via public bidding, and that there were no relevant restrictions in force at the time. Regulations introduced after the allocation have since established that all spectrum licences must be awarded through public tender, however.

The MTC added that Bitel will be required to participate in the planned harmonisation of the 2.5GHz band, which looks to restructure the range and will carry additional coverage obligations for remote areas. For the sake of transparency, MTC noted that details of the case would be submitted to the Comptroller General for review.